In general, I am a fairly adventurous eater.  I will try almost anything once.  It hasn’t always been so, but Mom was right – my taste buds have definitely changed since I was a kid.  However, one thing I have had a bear of a time getting on board with has been floral flavorings.  I think my aversion a few years ago started when a friend was traveling to Paris and I begged him to bring me back a macaron.  He did, and I was so excited to try it.  It was pink as can be and so lovely, until I bit into it and promptly spit it out.  It was rose flavored and oh, that is just really not my thing.  Ever since, I have been basically unwilling to try floral accents of any kind.

When thinking of ways to make use of my recent Meyer lemon bounty, I recalled that lemon and lavender are a classic flavor pairing.  I was definitely wary, associated lavender much more with my yoga studio and lotions than anything else.  But curiosity got the best of me, so I tried it, albeit somewhat hesitantly.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I really enjoyed this pairing.  The lemon and lavender are nicely balanced – both are present without overpowering, and they combine to give such a unique flavor that I found these shortbread absolutely irresistible.

  • Yield about 2 dozen cookies


1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
Zest of 3 lemons, divided
1 tsp. culinary lavender buds, ground or very finely chopped
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. granulated sugar


  • 01

    To make the dough, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the zest from 2 of the lemons and the ground lavender.  Beat on medium-high speed until well blended, 1-2 minutes.  Blend in the vanilla extract and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour until a dough comes together.  Form the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until slightly firm, 30-60 minutes.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a small bowl, combine the zest of the remaining lemon with the granulated sugar.  Rub together with your fingertips until evenly mixed and fragrant.  Unwrap the chilled dough and place on a lightly floured work surface.  Roll out to ¼-inch thick.  Sprinkle the top of the dough generously with the majority of the lemon sugar mixture, and go over lightly with the rolling pin to press the sugar into the top of the dough. Cut out rounds, squares, etc. as desired and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.  Re-roll dough scraps as desired and cut additional cookies.

  • 03

    Bake 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until the cookies are just set.  Let cool on the baking sheets a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.